Wednesday, June 13, 2012

When I Get Where I'm Going by Brian Potts

Brian & Rhonda Potts

When I Get Where I’m Going

Do certain songs (or pictures, stories, etc.) bring out strong emotions in you?  Do you get a tear in your eye or a lump in your throat when certain songs come on the radio?  The song may not necessarily be sad, it may just remind you of someone dear to you. Or you may be saddened as you are reminded of injustices in this world. 

Recently, as we were making the long drive back from a visit to my parents in Memphis, I was listening to the radio to pass the time. When I heard the opening notes of Brad Paisley’s song “When I Get Where I’m Going” I knew from long experience that very soon there would be tears behind my sunglasses.  Try as I might to hold them back, I just know that the words of this song will bring tears streaming down my face.  I know that this is not much of a surprise to many of you who know me and know that it doesn’t take much to get me emotional.  But why does a song about getting to Heaven make me cry? Especially since I love the chorus and the theology of comfort and forgiveness that it shares.

Yeah when I get where I'm going
There'll be only happy tears
I will shed the sins and struggles
I have carried all these years
And I'll leave my heart wide open
I will love and have no fear
Yeah when I get where I'm going
Don't cry for me down here

Actually, the first verse and the chorus don’t bring on the strong emotions. It is the second verse that brings a lump to my throat.

I'm gonna walk with my grand daddy
And he'll match me step for step
And I'll tell him how I missed him
Every minute since he left
Then I'll hug his neck

Because, you see, I lost the only grandfather that I ever knew when I was in the fifth grade.  He was a Godly man who was an elder in the church and had great compassion for helping others.  But most important to that young boy, he was a loving grandfather who always had time to play catch and wasn’t too busy to have my sister and I over to spend the night with he and my grandmother every Friday night.  And he didn’t say “give me a hug” like most of us would today.  He would say “Hug my neck”. Now you know why the words of this song trigger such a strong emotional response from me.

The song “The Little Girl” by John Michael Montgomery is another song that elicits the same response from me but for a different reason.  This song tells the story of a little girl in an abusive family who receives comfort from Jesus before finding love in a new family. If you are a Christ-believer and a parent, you will also be touched by this song (go to You-Tube and watch one of the videos).

Did I say all this to illustrate something about me that most of you already knew?  No, it’s the thoughts that came next on that drive back from Memphis that contain the point that I want to share.  As I sat there collecting my thoughts (and my composure) after the song finished, I started to think about why these songs bring such strong emotions to me.  Of course there is the obvious that I still miss my grandfather, but beyond that I think these songs help me to empathize with the pain of others.  The thought that came next was that when we hurt, God hurts also because he loves us so much.  We know that most of the miracles that Jesus performed were in response to the compassion that he felt.  He fed the hungry, healed the sick and raised the dead because “He had compassion on them” (Matt 14:14) and “He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled” (John 11:33).  Does Jesus care when our heart is pained?  Oh yes He cares, because our God is not a disconnected, unknowing and uncaring being on the far side of the universe. He is a God who knows our every hurt and every care and feels our pain.  Therefore, as the end of the song says, ultimately, as Christians we should only have happy tears…

But when I get where I'm going
And I see my maker's face
I'll stand forever in the light
Of his amazing grace
Yeah when I get where I'm going
There'll be only happy tears

I will love and have no fear
When I get where I'm going
Don’t cry for me down here.

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